Archives for February 2008

Staying Alive: Planning to Thrive!by Jim Callahan, Convenience Solutions

Staying Alive: Planning to Thrive! Staying Alive is both the title of an old disco tune, as well as a description of the challenge that today’s c-store operators face. C-store growth in numbers as well as quality continues unabated. I certainly don’t have all the answers about staying relevant, but I have some very interesting

Share

Tomlinson Industries Acquires New Facility

<p> Tomlinson Industries has purchased of a new manufacturing/warehouse facility in Macedonia, Ohio. The building is 72,000 square feet with area for potential further growth. As a result, all production and warehousing for the foodservice products division will be relocated to Macedonia, the company said. Consolidating foodservice operations will allow for greater control of product

Share

BP Sell-Off Continues

As part of its transition to a franchise-based business, BP said it has put up for sale 78 stores in the Chicago market. The British oil company now has hundreds of stores available through sealed-bid auctions managed by NRC Realty Advisors LLC across the country. Of the 78 Chicago sites, 65 are available for franchise,

Share

Private Label Potential

A new benchmark study conducted by Retail Systems Research (RSR), and sponsored by Eqos, titled, "PLM Squared: Product Lifecycle Management Powers Private Label Merchandise" reports on key industry trends that have affected private label programs during the past two years. Additionally, this report identifies best practices implemented by the most successful retailers and offers recommendations

Share

Wright Express to Acquire Pacific Pride

Wright Express Corp. reached a deal to acquire certain assets of privately held Pacific Pride Services Inc. for approximately $32 million in cash. The deal will be financed through the company’s existing credit facility and is expected to close before the end of the first quarter of 2008. The U.S. fleet fuel distributor channel represents

Share

VERC Expands Portfolio

VERC Enterprises, operator of 20 stores throughout Eastern Massachusetts and New Hampshire, acquired a new location in Westin, Mass. VERC Weston Mobil is currently operating as a gasoline station, but the company hopes to expand services at the unit. VERC Enterprises CEO Leo Vercollone is working with Weston officials in the hopes of obtaining permitting

Share

Jenny Bullard Named Chair of PCATS

Jenny Bullard, the chief information officer of Flash Foods in Waycross, Ga., was named chairwoman of the board of directors of the Petroleum Convenience Alliance for Technology Standards (PCATS), succeeding Devin Bates of Stripes Convenience Stores in San Angelo, Texas. Bullard, who oversees the technology systems at 176 stores, is the first female to hold

Share

Open Pantry Promotes Fiene, Schutz

Open Pantry Food Marts of Wisconsin, Inc., operator of 26 stores in Wisconsin and Illinois, announced two moves to solidify its executive team. Jim Fiene, the former senior vice president of the Pleasant Prairie, Wis. chain, was promoted to chief operating officer, effective Feb. 6. "Jim Fiene has dramatically contributed to up-imaging our company during

Share

Wis. Sued Over Gas Competition Law

The state of Wisconsin is being sued in federal court over a law designed to ensure fair competition among gas station owners. The filing comes after a federal judge ruled in another lawsuit last year that the law is unconstitutional. In documents obtained by the Associated Press, Flying J filed a new lawsuit Jan. 29

Share

Tensions Boiling Over in Petro-Canada Lock Out

Employees at a Montreal oil refinery are calling on the public to boycott Petro-Canada in support of the 260 workers locked out since November. The lockout was a reaction by Petro-Canada to a year of strained contract negotiations with the Communications, Energy and Paper Workers Union (CEP) regarding contract requirements and safety concerns in the

Share

Coke Makes Honest Investment

The Coca-Cola Co. and Honest Tea Inc. completed a deal giving Coca-Cola approximately 40% interest in the fast-growing maker of certified organic beverages, including the best-selling Honest Tea brand. Coca-Cola may elect to buy, and the remaining Honest Tea shareholders may elect to sell to Coca-Cola, the outstanding interest not currently owned by Coca-Cola in

Share

Consumers Weary Over Fuel Price

Despite a flailing U.S. economy, gasoline prices are the leading factor in changing American consumer spending, according to a NACS survey. Results found 45% of U.S. consumers said soaring gasoline prices have affected their spending more than rising energy and food costs, the slumping economy or the national mortgage and lending crisis, the survey found.

Share

Jeff Parker Takes Reigns at Kwik Shop

Jeff Parker today was named president of Kroger’s Kwik Shop convenience store division. He will oversee 131 Kwik Shop stores in Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa. Parker previously served as senior vice president of operations for the Hutchinson, Kan.-based c-store chain and was the corporate controller for Kroger’s c-stores, Turkey Hill Dairy, and supermarket petroleum operations

Share

7-Eleven Promotes Fresh-Brewed Coffee

The company that invented coffee-to-go some 40 years ago and sells at least a million cups a day is launching a multi-million-dollar “freshness guaranteed” advertising blitz in February. With taglines like “Our coffee’s fresher than your average Joe” and “Guaranteed fresh or we’ll brew it new,” 7-Eleven, Inc. plans to educate coffee drinkers about the

Share

Nabisco Introduces Wine, Cheese & Cracker Pairings

Kraft Foodservice’s Nabisco Website (www.kraftfoodservice.com/crackers) is featuring new wine, cheese and cracker pairing tips to help operators increase margins and sales. Convenience store operators can use these pairing guides to develop catering and special events menus, and to identify spectacular pairings and flavors to keep patrons coming back for more. Developed by Lorraine Hems, a

Share

7-Eleven Extends Gilbarco Agreement

7-Eleven, Inc. has extended its dispenser purchasing agreement with Gilbarco Veeder-Root through December 2010. The company will continue to purchase Gilbarco Encore dispensers, which offer the widest range of models for alternative fuels, advanced security and payment options. "Gilbarco dispensers have been an important part of our successful interaction with customers at the fuel island,"

Share

Famima to Diversify U.S. Portfolio

Famima USA, a subsidiary of Japan’s second-biggest convenience store operator, FamilyMart Co., is shifting its U.S. retail strategy to open more outlets in middle-class U.S. neighborhoods to make the unit profitable by February 2012, said President Junji Ueda. Since opening its first U.S. store in West Hollywood, California, in 2005, FamilyMart has tried to set

Share

Strong Quarter for The Pantry

The Pantry Inc., operator of 1,644 stores in 11 states under brands such as The Pantry and Kangaroo Express, reported sharp gain in first quarter revenues. For the quarter, revenues jumped to approximately $2 billion, a 43.2% increase from the first quarter of fiscal 2007. Net income was $3.2 million compared to just $125,000 a

Share

Convenience Store Retailers Stepping Up Tobacco Lobbying Efforts

States are effectively cutting their own throats by continually hiking excise taxes on tobacco products–chasing away revenue, encouraging criminal behavior and unfairly penalizing smokers and retailers–and it’s up to the c-store industry to help them understand that. In fact many operators and state associations already are fighting the good fight by lobbying legislators, educating consumers,

Share

The Building Blocks of Foodservice

Experts have long espoused the theory that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It’s a supposition that foodservice purveyors across the retail spectrum are clinging to as they revamp their foodservice programs focused on upscale coffee programs and product portability. NACS’ 2007 State of the industry numbers show the food category is

Share

Technologies to Watch: Google and VoIP

Two of the most impressive technologies on display at last November’s NACS Show promise to enhance the convenience value proposition for customers and storeowners alike. The first of these comes to the marketplace courtesy of a strategic partnership between Gilbarco Veeder-Root and Google. It will allow customers fueling their vehicles at stations using Gilbarco’s Encore

Share

Building New Relationships

Anyone who’s been in the industry as long as Dennis Lane is more than supremely qualified to help other retailers cope successfully with the changing c-store landscape. Lane—who was elected last November to head the 2,000-member National Coalition of 7-Eleven Franchise Owners Association after serving for the past several years as vice chair of merchandising

Share

Leadership Tactics to Make 2008 a Pivotal Business

s you look back over 2007, you’re feeling a vague sense of discontent. Business is sluggish. Several key employees have left. And with new competitors springing up every day, you need to be at the top of your industry. Things are not terrible, but they could be a lot better. You need to turn things

Share

By the Numbers

» 1 Year That’s how long one Quick Chek customer will win free coffee for as part of the chain’s partnership with the NHL’s New Jersey Devils. Other prizes include autographed memorabilia, game tickets and dinner with a former Devils player. » 4 Lawsuits filed in federal court by Philip Morris against importers aimed at

Share

Private Label Case Study: Tesco

Jim Hertel, the senior vice president of retail consultant Willard Bishop, spotlights international retailer Tesco PLC’s Fresh & Easy concept, which at presstime had been rolled into eight stores in Phoenix, with 26 more planned. Hertel noted that Tesco’s use of private label brands "turns a lot of conventional wisdom upside down. Many food retailers

Share